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Defend Your Parental Rights And Your Children’s Best Interests

The divorce issue that is almost always the most emotional and contentious is child custody. As a parent, it is hard to accept that your child may not live under your roof every day. It can also be hard to work with your child’s other parent to reach a custody agreement.

When it is time to negotiate a custody and visitation schedule, we at Russell W. Ray, PLLC, can help you protect your relationship with your child. Springfield family law attorney Russell Ray has handled complex child custody cases for decades. He understands just how important it is to honor your children’s best interests while also advocating staunchly for your rights as a parent.

How Does Virginia Award Custody And Visitation?

If parents do not reach a private agreement about a parenting plan, a family law court will issue a decision for them. When possible, the court prefers to award joint physical and legal custody. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to child custody. The judge will consider factors such as:

  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child
  • Each parent’s physical location
  • The involvement of the child in school, religion and other activities
  • The presence of addiction, mental illness or domestic abuse

We understand how to give parents the best chances at custody time with their kids. Mr. Ray is available to discuss your case and answer your questions whenever you are ready. We also help parents through the process of relocating with their children after separation or divorce.

Putting Your Child First, But Always Standing Up For You

At all points of a custody dispute, Mr. Ray’s objective is to do what is best for your children. Increasing conflict deliberately or refusing on principle to negotiate will not serve your child or aid your custodial rights. He prioritizes mediation or private negotiation as amicable options for dispute resolution. He is also a trial-tested litigator who has won favorable outcomes in courts throughout the commonwealth.

Talk To A Caring Child Custody Lawyer In A Free Consult

We know this is a difficult time for you. Allow Russell W. Ray, PLLC, to handle the legal work so you can focus on maintaining a strong bond with your child. Call the Springfield firm at 703-935-4634 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We work throughout Fairfax County, Prince William County and Northern Virginia.

  1. What factors do Virginia courts consider when determining child custody arrangements?
    • Answer: Virginia courts consider various factors including the child’s age, physical and mental health of the parents, each parent’s ability to care for the child, the child’s relationship with each parent, and any history of domestic violence or abuse.
  2. How does Virginia law define legal custody versus physical custody?
    • Answer: Legal custody refers to the authority to make major decisions about the child’s upbringing, while physical custody refers to where the child resides on a day-to-day basis. In Virginia, legal custody can be joint or sole, while physical custody can be joint or primary.
  3. Can grandparents or other third parties seek visitation rights in Virginia?
    • Answer: Yes, under certain circumstances, grandparents and other third parties may petition for visitation rights in Virginia. However, they must demonstrate a significant and ongoing relationship with the child and show that denying visitation would harm the child’s best interests.
  4. How does Virginia handle custody disputes between unmarried parents?
    • Answer: In Virginia, custody disputes between unmarried parents are typically resolved through the same legal processes as those between married parents. The court will consider the best interests of the child when determining custody and visitation arrangements.
  5. What steps can a parent take to modify a child custody order in Virginia?
    • Answer: To modify a child custody order in Virginia, a parent must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances since the original order was issued and show that modifying the order would be in the child’s best interests.
  6. Are there any alternative dispute resolution methods available for resolving child custody disputes in Virginia?
    • Answer: Yes, Virginia courts encourage parents to resolve custody disputes through mediation or arbitration, which can be less adversarial and time-consuming than traditional litigation.
  7. How does relocation affect child custody arrangements in Virginia?
    • Answer: If a custodial parent wishes to relocate with the child, they must obtain permission from the non-custodial parent or seek court approval. The court will consider factors such as the reason for the relocation and how it will affect the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent.
  8. What rights do non-custodial parents have regarding visitation in Virginia?
    • Answer: Non-custodial parents in Virginia have the right to reasonable visitation with their child, unless it is determined to be against the child’s best interests. Visitation schedules can be established by agreement between the parents or by court order.
  9. How does Virginia handle cases involving allegations of parental alienation?
    • Answer: Virginia courts take allegations of parental alienation seriously and may appoint a guardian ad litem or custody evaluator to investigate the claims. If parental alienation is found to be occurring, the court may modify custody arrangements to protect the child’s relationship with both parents.
  10. What resources are available for parents seeking information about child custody and visitation laws in Virginia?
    • Answer: Parents in Virginia can access resources such as the Virginia Courts website, which provides information about family law and links to relevant statutes and forms. Additionally, consulting with a qualified family law attorney can provide personalized guidance and support.